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FMA Washington Report February 11, 2019
This report communicates what FMA�s professional staff is doing on behalf of FMA members in Washington, D.C., and provides an update on issues affecting federal managers. As always, I encourage you to visit www.fedmanagers.org on a regular basis for more information on these and other matters.

Please feel free to provide feedback any time by emailing me at bdavis@fedmanagers.org or by calling the National Office at (703) 683-8700. Thank you for your membership in FMA. It�s an honor to represent your interests before Congress and the administration.

What's Affecting Feds?
Partial Government Shutdown Ends for Now After 35 Days
On January 25, President Donald Trump signed a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) into law ending the partial government shutdown. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives approved by voice vote a CR which will expire February 15. The CR ended the longest government shutdown in our country's history, lasting 35 days.

Since December 21, the Department of the Treasury, Department of Agriculture, Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior, Department of State, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce and Department of Justice had been under shutdown procedures with workers either being furloughed or required to work without pay. More than 800,000 federal employees did not receive their first two paychecks of the year. Following the shutdown, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the longest government shutdown in our nation’s history cost our country more than $11 billion.

FMA was relieved the shutdown finally came to an end after Congress and the administration finally agreed to put the welfare of federal employees before partisan politics. Please review our press release from FMA's National President, Renee Johnson.

Cautious Optimism for A Retroactive Pay Freeze for 2019
Federal employees entered the new year facing challenges on two fronts with the partial government shutdown and a federal pay freeze going into effect. As we have discussed in previous Washington Reports, the Senate had passed a 1.9 percent pay raise for feds in the fall of 2018 and the House was close to passing it before the November 2018 election, but was  unable to do so before the pay freeze went into effect on January 1. 

The 116th Congress has been more aggressive in attempting to reverse the administration’s pay freeze during its first month in session. Several bills which passed the House to end the government shutdown also called for a pay raise for all civilian feds. Once the partial shutdown concluded, a new call for a pay raise emerged. Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) introduced the Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act of 2019 (H.R. 790) calling for a 2.6 percent pay raise. “On the heels of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, I believe it is appropriate for the House of Representatives to take up legislation to show federal employees that we in Congress appreciate the work that they do and the sacrifices they make,” Connolly said on the House floor. The bill passed by a vote of 259-161. FMA commended the House for passing the bill in a press release

Legislative Outreach
TRICARE Select Improvement Act Introduced in Both Houses of Congress
If a member of the U.S. military reserves is working in a non-federal employee job, they can opt to enroll in TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS). However, federal employees who serve in the reserves must enroll in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and are not eligible to enroll in TRS. FMA has worked for several years to allow feds in the reserves the option to enroll in TRS, if they choose. The first month of the 116th Congress saw early movement on this issue.

The TRICARE Reserve Select Improvement Act (H.R. 613) was first introduced in this session of Congress by Congressman Trent Kelly (R-MS) and currently has 26 bipartisan cosponsors. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced a companion bill in the Senate (S. 164), which currently has 11 bipartisan cosponsors. FMA has endorsed both the House legislation and the Senate legislation, and will seek to secure their passage.

GPO/WEP Bill Introduced in Congress
Representative Rodney Davis introduced the Social Security Fairness Act of 2019 (H.R. 141) early in the 116th Congress. The bill, which FMA supports, would repeal both the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). 

As in previous years, the full repeal faces steep odds of moving forward due to the high cost. However, FMA is encouraged by recent efforts in Congress to mitigate or partially repeal the unfair GPO and WEP, such as the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act introduced late in the 115th Congress. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would have created a new formula for WEP, calculating benefits by taking into account the actual wage and work history of public sector employees. Further, the legislation would have provided relief to current retirees already affected by WEP, offering a rebate of $100 per-month for workers, and $50 per-month for those receiving a spousal benefit from Social Security. FMA would support reintroduction of similar legislation in the 116th Congress. 

FMA Leads Meetings on Capitol Hill and at White House
On Wednesday, February 6, FMA’s Government Affairs Department led two meetings on Capitol Hill. First, they met with the chief of staff from Congressman Ed Case’s (D-HI) Office who represents Hawaii’s first congressional district. The purpose of the meeting was to reconnect with Congressman Case upon his return to Congress after over ten years. Issues discussed included ending government shutdowns for good, prospects for a pay raise in 2019, and incorporating shipyard modernization into a larger federal infrastructure conversation. 

The second Capitol Hill meeting was with Congressman Chris Pappas’s (D-NH) Legislative Director. Congressman Pappas is a freshman lawmaker representing New Hampshire’s first congressional district, home to many FMA members working at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Get Involved At These Events!
Next Month is FMA’s 81st Annual National Convention
FMA’s 81st Annual National Convention & Management Training Seminar will be held March 11-13 at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia. The national convention is an amazing experience bringing together federal managers from across the country to discuss important issues affecting their departments, agencies and chapters. With a training day, keynote addresses from lawmakers, and a lobbying day on Capitol Hill, there is something for everyone at the convention.

The itinerary is still being finalized, but the program will ensure your time is well spent and your satisfaction will be high. Please click here to register for this exciting event.


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